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Over the past year, I’ve been photographing the happenings of Taco del Sol taco shop in Bozeman, Montana. My good friends Marley and Matt have run the successful college town restaurant downtown for the past few years and they wanted a photographer to capture the atmosphere and feeling of the place. It’s been a fun project to work on and develop. Here are a few of my favorite photos I’ve made during my time there. If ever you find yourself hungry in downtown Bozeman, Montana, I hope you swing by and do yourself a favor by ordering some fish tacos. Delicious. Thanks for looking, -M

In my line of work as a photojournalist, I’m fortunate that I get to experience people and places I would not normally come across in my daily life. The challenge then for me is to document and capture the essence of the story I’m trying to tell through my images. Through these experiences and personal connections with the individuals I meet, I learn not just about their story but they help shape my own for the better. A couple weeks back, after many years of debating and being encouraged by close friends, I finally experienced my first Burning Man festival in Black Rock City in western Nevada and found a part of myself I never knew existed. The week long event has been happening in one form or another since the mid 80’s as counter culture, artistic, self expression annual celebration that accumulates as a city of 60,000+ individuals from around the world in the dried up alkali salt lake beds a couple hours northeast of Reno. It’s a surreal environment to live in for a week complete with white out dust storms and intense heat. It’s hard to put into words exactly what makes the event so special. To the outsider, the event could easily be written off as a bunch of hooligans partying out in the middle of the desert. On the Burning Man website, organizers state that “Trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind.” I really had no clue what I was getting into. But what I found was more special to me than anything I could ever have imaged. I danced, I laughed, I learned, I experienced, I dreamed, I loved. I would describe it as the most fantastic lucid dream where acceptance and a sense of community rein as king. For much of the week, I refrained from taking any images with the hopes of absorbing all I saw completely unfiltered. Obviously, that didn’t last long. For someone who was trying to take a vacation from creativity, I found myself at ground zero for creative expression and I soon gave myself completely to it gaining an intense gratification for all the wonderfully weird, creative, intelligent and inspiring group of people I encountered along the way. These photos are but a glimpse of the profound people I connected with for a week on the playa who showed me how to truly celebrate life to it’s fullest. It was an experience I won’t soon forget. -M